Holby City: Selfless. Kind. Brave

(Series 20, ep. 11 ‘The L Word’ by Katie Douglas 13.3.18) Holby is nominated for a RTS Award for Best Soap/Continuing Drama this year (and high time too). When you see an episode like this, you have to think how could it not win? Indeed you have to think how come it isn’t in the Drama category too? With acting as nuanced and powerful as we had here from James Anderson, Guy Henry, Hermione Gulliford and others, and production values that equal anything you’d see in things like Line of Duty and Collateral… well, I could go on. I probably will go on, whether it wins or not. But for now, I’d better turn my attention back to this particular, very dramatic and rather intense episode.

Professor Gaskell (or “the Great and Powerful Oz,” as Sacha rather brilliantly referred to him) was thinking that Roxanna was getting a bit emotionally over-involved with Oliver Valentine’s case. He’s shrewdly spotted that unless she’s been in a car with Hanssen or eating pizza in the on-call room, she has at all times been by Ollie’s side, frowning at him encouragingly. 

A crisis point to all this was reached when Ollie, after a session of his magnet therapy, remembered something. He and Roxanna were in love!

Roxanna badly needed some wise counsel to sort this out, so she went out to the car park and phoned Hanssen. I expected him to be just moments away and with his engine running, like a terribly suave Uber driver, but he was actually at home, in an actual house. Roxanna went there for the kind of Deep Chat that’s only possible with the friend whose son shot your colleague even though he was actually aiming for you and while you were saving your colleague your husband died on the operating table in the same room so you have to make sure your colleague/patient makes a full recovery otherwise There Is No Point. I’m quite pleased with myself for getting that entire situation into a single, albeit not very elegant, sentence.

Hanssen (who would never use an inelegant sentence) blames himself for what Fredrik did: “My son, my creation,” he said. “It was a message to me written in the blood of those I love.” It’s hard to argue with that assessment, though of course not every emotionally neglected child will grow up to be a gun-toting murderer. It’s that last bit that Hanssen still has to realise.

Back at the hospital, Ollie remembered that it wasn’t Roxanna he’d been in love with, but Zosia. He asked Dominic to tell him about her, which was sweet and sad at the same time.

Then Roxanna took Ollie to the operating theatre where he was shot, and this was an incredibly emotional and intense scene between two actors who work very well together. Roxanna told Ollie he was selfless, kind and brave for taking the bullet meant for her. Wow. No wonder she feels she owes him a recovery. And her voice-over as she rehearsed her speech for David’s memorial was really sad. I really do love Hermione Gulliford’s work on Holby.

We needed something uplifting after all that, and rather unusually it arrived wrapped up in a plot about a woman facing the end of her life and making it known that she didn’t wish to be resuscitated if and when things went very bad. The woman was the truly wonderful Sheilagh Chiltern (Wanda Ventham), and in her spirited hands the story ended up being more about life than it was about death (and the good news was that the death of Sheilagh Chiltern is not happening any time soon).

And Dominic told Lofty he loves him. Lofty isn’t ready to say it back yet, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel it. He’s just isn’t a person to fling that kind of concept around without being 100% sure.

On AAU, the quest to prove Ric’s innocence continued, and a breakthrough was achieved when Amira (Poppy Jhakra) was tracked down and summoned to the hospital. “She’s a nurse. Tell her she’s owed money. That’ll get her down here,” Donna told Fletch – and it worked. Eventually, after a lot of persuasion from Donna, Amira agreed to appear in court to explain her view of what went on the day Mrs Warren died.

Elsewhere in AAU, patient o’ the week Raymond (Martin Behrman) was a model – of sausages and electric blankets. Best not to even ask. He was one of these tricky diagnosis cases, but when Zav made the tricky diagnosis he let Nicky take the credit for it and Serena was pleased and said she could write it up for a medical journal. Then Nicky discovered that Zav had already had an article published about that very same subject, so nobody was going to be getting excited about another one from Nicky. WTF, she quite rightly wanted to know. Zav told her she needs to stay sharp and toughen up. Is this what’s known as tough love? Or just being a twonk?

“I think being terrified about it is a good sign because it means I care and I want to do it justice.” Read more about how James Anderson approached this storyline, and lots more, in Holby City: Behind the Screen. Available from Amazon, Silverwood Books, Book Depository and to order from any bookshop. There are also some copies signed by me on eBay.


Filed under Holby City

10 responses to “Holby City: Selfless. Kind. Brave

  1. HolbyNut

    Please let us know if we can vote for Holby at all for an award. Agree that the characterisation is just brilliant.
    Love Ollie all the more each episode and yes Sasha’s line about creepy Gaskell aka Oz was inspired.
    Great review as usual. Have ordered the book and just waiting for it to arrive.

  2. Thunderchild

    I thought when Ollie’s memories started coming back he was going to remember Tara which would have put a whole new twist on things. I’ve always felt that Roxanna’s determination to save him was down the fact she couldn’t save Tara, not that Ollie took the bullet intended for her. Did I miss something but why was Frederik targeting Roxanna?

    • I’m glad that wasn’t just me who thought there might be a Tara spin in that… And I think he was targeting Roxanna because of how close he knew they were, it was like she was more a part of Henrik’s “work family” than any of the others if that makes sense…

      • Paul Hammond

        You’ve kind of already answered it. I didn’t expect a “Tara” spin on things, but of course if the memories have all been churned up that’s entirely possible. Yeah, the reason for targetting Roxanne is that Roxanne, David, Gaskell and Hansen were all the fab four at Uni together, so targeting those people would be the way for Frederick to cause maximum damage to his father. (and it seems there was a bit of unrequited going on between Hansen and Roxanne before she got together with David too, which is interesting)

  3. Rav is a twonk. Not only is he a twonk, but he’s a bullying twonk. However, I have faith in the Divine Serena’s Twonk Death Ray Stun Gun.

  4. Did you notice that although Hanssen is almost OCD about tidyness when at work, remember the compulsive straightening of pens and pencils on his desk, his home was the very opposite? He made a comment to Roxanna about “just doing a bit of tidying up” but there appeared to be stuff everywhere. Interestingly, Roxanna, who appears to have known him since medical school, made no comment, not even a “this isn’t like you at all” or an enquiry after his well being based on what she saw. Does he have a split personality?

  5. irestar6

    We’re not calling him Duvarsehole for nothing!

  6. Rosemarie CAIRNEY

    My heart goes out Hansson this is not his fault what Frederick done. We all try very hard with our children but @ the end of the day it down to them. Hansson didn’t put the gun in his hand & tell to go on the rant page. Roxanna must step back from ollie other wise there big problem. Now we no what can happen with the DNR. It can lead to some problems as Lofty found out as well. This new registrar need his ass kick after what he done to nicky. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. Holby & Casualty are Great.

  7. I go wid the latter he’s being a twonk as per as hot as he looks he’s a twonk lol 😂
    Luvely review as per usual 🙌🏾🙌🏾♥️♥️

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